‘So THAT’S why he sleeps so much’

typed for your pleasure on 13 March 2023, at 4.05 pm

Sdtrk: ‘I promise’ by Peter Peter

Generally speaking, I can somewhat understand the reasoning behind people wanting to get out of their own heads, whether through recreational drugs or preoccupation, cos it seems more than a few people can’t deal with their own thoughts. It should be painfully obvious, however, that personally, I absolutely love being in my own head, as I find it more interesting than what goes on in the external world. Maybe ‘interesting’ isn’t the best-fitting word, but generally speaking, it’s much more welcoming in here.

Photo unrelated. Well, perhaps a wee bit related

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In plain sight this entire time

typed for your pleasure on 1 March 2023, at 11.30 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Psychosomatica’ by Bedhead

It is my belief that Golden Globe award-winning Canadian actor Ryan Thomas Gosling is very keen on Synthetiks.

+ In 2007, Ryan Gosling came to be noticed in a larger sphere of pop culture when he portrayed Lars Lindstrom in the 2007 film ‘Lars and the Real Girl‘, which of course I’ve previously mentioned on ‘Shouting &c.’

As a sensitive man who was deeply in love with Bianca, his RealDoll companion, seeing her as being much more than a ‘sex toy’, he expertly took on the role of a Doll husband

+ In 2017, he portrayed KD6-3.7, a Nexus-9 series Replicant, in Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Blade runner 2049‘. If you’re somehow unfamiliar with the world of Blade runner, a Replicant is a Synthetik human. As they’re bioengineered artificial beings, they’re not traditional robots with mechanical endoskeletons and rubber skin, but more like the humanoid equivalent of a veggie burger.

Any way you intepret the term Replicant, however, K was a Synthetik human

+ In 2023, Ryan Gosling will be embodying Ken in the upcoming hallucinatory-looking live-action Barbie feature film, directed by Greta Gerwig.

You can’t get much more straightforward than that; he will literally be playing a doll.

Ladies, gentlemen, and others: An iDollator, an Android, and a doll (lower-case, but still). The evidence is there, and it speaks for itself.
Ryan Gosling, if you’re somehow reading this, I’d just like you to know that there’s absolutely no shame in being a robosexual or an iDollator, so there’s no need to hide it! They’re both amazing and unique global communities where you can meet loads of interesting people, most of them made in a studio, a factory, or a robotics department, and your life will improve exponentially for it! Fact.
Just so you know, I’d seen you in ‘Drive’ and ‘Only God forgives’, and those films were incredible as well… keep up the good work!

As an aside, I still occasionally keep in contact with Roc Morin, freewheeling freelance writer who wrote about me, my Missus and our mistress for VICE back in 2014. He was at some get-together in Hollywood in 2017, and, unbeknownst to me, had a chance to chat with Ryan Gosling; having done so, he sent me a text:

Either Roc never provided me with Ryan Gosling’s answer, or Ryan Gosling never provided Roc with an answer. Very suspicious, indeed

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Should’ve done this when I hit twenty-five

typed for your pleasure on 23 November 2022, at 2.51 am

Sdtrk: ‘Incubation’ by Joy division

This is the sort of nonsense you get up to when you turn fifty:

Behold: baby’s first tattoo

As of the 14th of this month, I have spent fifty years on this blighted earth, this wretched demesne, this cursèd vale. It’s not really an unending torrent of horrors, though; there’s Synthetiks, and cats, and there are a few places with really good wifi. About three or so years ago, knowing that my half-century mark was rapidly approaching, I’d decided that I was going to get my first tattoo. You’d think someone such as myself with a flair for ostentatious decoration that I’d have more on my person, but I have an understandable aversion to physical pain. Well, pain of any kind, really. But I said to myself that getting a tattoo was something I not only wanted, but needed, to do, so I’d do my best to endure the process.

Now I do enjoy good minimalist design; some of my visual favourites would be the logos and trademarks created by various graphic designers and artists, particularly throught the late Fifties up to the mid-Eighties. Top tier designers in my book would be Saul Bass,

Paul Rand,

with my hands-down graphic design god being Peter Saville. Peter, in case you’re unfamiliar with his work, was responsible for the visual aesthetic of Factory records, his heyday arguably being during the late Seventies to the early Nineties.

I’d been listening to New wave and alternative bands, mostly from the UK, during the Eighties, but I hadn’t heard New order until maybe 1986, when my best friend Sean dubbed a copy of their 1983 cassette release of Power, corruption & lies for me, and not only was I enthralled by the music, but the minimal artwork really gripped me. Granted, the US Qwest records version ruined it by putting the name of both the group and the album on the front, but the concept of a band who simply had art and design studies for their covers and were averse to using photos of themselves on any of their releases — up until 1985’s Low-life, of course — and were making synthesised electronic dance music that seemed generally divorced from humanity struck several chords in me. They were struck quite strongly, as they’re still resonating nearly 40 years later. That’s almost as old as I am!

Looking into Peter Saville back then, I discovered he was the art director and graphic designer for Factory records, a record label located in Manchester, the North of England, and New order were arguably the biggest group on the label in the Eighties (I regrettably have yet to hear more than a couple of songs by the Durutti Column; I’ll get that sorted one day). Over time, I learned that New order were formed in the aftermath of the dissolution of a previous band, Joy division, none of their material I’d heard until their 1988 compilation, Substance. Coincidentally enough, the lass I had a thing for back in highschool bought me a cassette copy for my 16th birthday! And that, dear reader, is when I fell in love… in love with Joy division.

Without getting into tremendous detail, I’m a bit of a Joy division fan, so — bringing us back to the present — it only seemed natural to me to get a tattoo related to them. Joy division is one of those groups where everything they’d released in their lifetime, which would be two studio albums, two Peel sessions, and the first of many compilations, are damn near flawless, and since they’re no longer recording (see link above), there’s never a chance of them making any releases that edge towards the Not Good end of the spectrum. Y’know, like Laibach, who I still have a great fondness for, but anything they made after 1994 simply isn’t as good as their older stuff. Or, y’know, like New order post-Technique, for that matter.

In April, I’d asked MontiLee where she had her pieces done, and she recommended Ed DeLoney of Royal oak tattoo, so I’d made a consultation with him one day after work in early October, bringing a couple of examples of the design I wanted on my phone, to be done in blackwork, two inches in diameter. It’d be on the inside of my left forearm, which, due to the way I dress, is one of the few places where you can actually see my uncovered flesh. Ed said that wouldn’t be an issue, and we arranged an appointment for November. Now, ideally, I’d wanted to get my tattoo on the actual day of my birthday, but this year, it fell on a Monday, and that would’ve been dire. Who celebrates a birthday on a Monday?? Instead of the 14th, I’d enquired about the 18th, which he pencilled me in for.
With the exception of my oft-mentioned friend Amber Hawk Swanson, I didn’t really tell anyone that I was slated to get all inked up… I’d mentioned it a couple of times over the past year or two in reference to my fiftieth birthday, but I didn’t go on about it recently. Generally speaking, I’m the sort of bloke who doesn’t like to reveal major plans unless I’m 98% sure they’ll come to pass; that way if they don’t come to pass, I don’t look like some kind of idiot for talking about this or that that I want to do, and it ends up not occurring.

On 18 November (a Friday), I’d taken the day off. Half due to the tattooing sesh, and half due to that being the first day of this year’s Love and Sex with Robots conference. Which was utterly fantastic, by the way; each year, they’ve been getting exponentially better. But I’d gotten round to Royal oak tattoo for my appointment at 4pm in due course. Apart from Ed, I was the only one there. Ed’s an affable bloke in his eighties whose thick and lengthy white beard, the bottom third of which was braided into a thin plait, makes him resemble an alt-rock Father Christmas. The studio featured, among other things, various actual swords on the walls, a shelf full of Star wars ephemera, a dentist chair from the Fifties, and a fish tank with no visible fish. I told him I was a bit nervous, as I was a tattoo virgin, so he put my mind at ease by discussing various subjects. We ended up talking at length about film photography: whereas I learned ages ago how to develop black and white film during a photography course at Wayne state university, he was taking photos of wildlife in northern Michigan. Loves Canon cameras, isn’t too keen on Hasselblad. Admittedly, with a Hasselblad, you’re paying for the name.

What did I think of the physical sensation of having a tattoo, you ask? I wouldn’t say it was painful, but it definitely wasn’t pleasant. ‘Getting repeatedly jabbed by a needle’ doesn’t really convey the feeling… I’d say it was more akin to someone Dremeling me. Rather like a sandpaper sensation. Sandpaper Sensation — that’s not a bad band name! Kinda Sixtiesy.
‘Don’t hold your breath,’ Ed advised me, noticing that I was in some discomfort. ‘Not breathing causes your nervous system to tighten up’. To be honest, I think that’s what he’d said, as I was too focussed on nice thoughts to be able to concentrate on putting the buzzing from my mind. I’ve had worse experiences, like when my painkillers wore off after a root canal back in 2007, but let’s just say that one of the reasons I went with a small design was less flesh scraping.
Overall, though, Ed did a professional and fast job of it — I was out of there after 90min — and was amusing and helped put me at ease through the process. I’d highly recommend him, but if you want him to work on you, you’ll have to be quick, as he’s retiring at the end of this year!

Speaking of design, Davecat, you ask, exasperated by this point in the narrative, what the hell does your tattoo mean?? It’s related to Joy division, yes, but unlike most people who have Joy division tattoos, I wanted something that wasn’t the famous CP1919 pulsar diagram, aka the design from the cover of Unknown pleasures. If you type ‘joy division tattoo’ into Google, you’ll see what I mean. Plus, that would be an AWFUL lot of linework.
Factory records had a publishing arm called Fractured Music that only released music from the latter half of Joy division’s catalogue, as well as New order’s first single, and that was their logo. It also references the f-holes you find in the bodies of violins, cellos, and guitars, and in musical terminology, 𝆑 means ‘forte’, or ‘play loud’. Still was a compilation of various otherwise-unreleased songs by the band, posthumously released after lead vocalist Ian Curtis took his own life, and the Fractured Music logo is one of the only two elements on the cover.
It’s common knowledge that I tend towards the obscure; I love instances where 98% of people seeing or hearing a reference I make are like ‘lolwut’, but the other 2% are like ‘AW JEAH I SEE WHAT U DID THAR’, those 2% are my people.

So there you have it! I love my tattoo, as it’s pretty fucking amazing.

One thing Ed mentioned is that it’d be odds on that, like many of his customers, I’d be back to have another piece done. He told me that he’d had a lass in a while ago who was convinced that she only wanted one, and that’d be the end of it. Shortly after, he said, she returned for four more tattoos in as many days; she’d be there waiting for the crew to open the studio.
*admires tattoo again*
I’ll give it some thought, Ed

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FIVE DOLLS (with apologies to Amber Hawk Swanson and David Bowie)

typed for your pleasure on 17 November 2021, at 1.42 am

Sdtrk: ‘Panopticon!’ by dreamcrusher

First off, here’s the Missus with our new rubber flatmate. Say hello!

SIDORE: ‘Darling, you’ve bought another Doll for us to play with?? This is brilliant! I adore these things… they’re fantastic. They’re so lifelike!’

Astute visitors to ‘Shouting &c.’ may recall that in my recent review of the Mila-type head from BBDoll, as generously sent to me by a representative from that company, that I was hoping that not long after, I would be able to bring home a Synthetik lass from them who would finally bring the total of Synthetik lasses that I live with to five. Alas (ho ho), it wasn’t to be, for a number of reasons that I’m not going to repeat, cos frankly, you can just read them in the aforementioned post. However, not long after, I’d rediscovered another Doll company that I’d seen last year; despite them having a handful of comely artificial women available, I didn’t really look further into who they had on offer until three months ago, due to one simple-but-unique characteristic that seemed so obvious to me, but was unfortunately lacking in a lot of Asian Doll companies. What was that characteristic, you axe? Come with me, and I shall tell you, dear reader! Cos I’m not giving it away in the opening paragraph; that’s just writing suicide.

Jiusheng Doll, a company operating out of China, caught my eye either earlier this year or last year, with their Lisa-type Doll; she was very alluring in both face and body, but her 82lb / 37kg weight was a turn-off. As I’ve mentioned before, these days, if I’m buying a Doll who weighs more than 75lbs, she’d better be able to move and walk around under her own power. Being able to perform dance moves such as The Robot would also be a nice bonus, but not necessarily a requirement. In addition to the weight thing, the Lisa-type’s face and body are both made of TPE. TPE is fine, but will always come in second to good ol’ platinum silicone, as I’m much more familiar with the latter thanks to several years’ experience with it. What can I say, I’m a traditionalist.

However, back in September, I’d spotted their new head, named Cassandra, and immediately fell in love with it for three reasons, which I will explain in excruciating detail for you now:
1) the head was made of silicone, not TPE
2) the mouth opens. For whatever crazy reason, it’s incredibly rare that a Doll made in Japan or China has a mouth that opens. A lot of it is down to the way Dolls are generally made in those countries — I’d gotten a bit into the construction in my review of BBDoll’s Mila-type head — but as I’d also mentioned in that post, being able to kiss a Doll is very important to me, and it’s not just enough to have a Doll with a mouth that opens a little bit, either. Jiusheng went the distance and made the Cassandra-type head with a 4in / 10cm throat, as well as a jaw that stays in place when you open her mouth, which is fantastic. As of this writing, they only have two silicone heads with opening mouths, but I’m sure that number will increase over time. The downside is despite the fact that she has a tongue, it’s not removable. Maybe the improved version down the line will have that feature
3) There’s a Doll studio that I won’t name that had made a head that I was completely taken with when I saw it back in 2011, to the point where she was going to be my second Doll after Sidore. I was in the midst of saving up for Doll No.2 when I was contacted by Oleg of Anatomical Doll; who, in the style of Don Corleone, proffered me an offering I was incapable of turning down, so the money I was saving for That Doll from That Company went towards bringing Elena home. I still wanted That Doll from That Company really badly, though, so I figured I’d save up again and she’d be my third. Which is when the Good People at Doll Sweet offered me a discount, which is how Miss Winter moved in. Starting roughly around 2016, the output of That Company had slowed to an absolute crawl, where customers were waiting for inordinately lengthy periods to receive what they’d ordered, and consequently most customers’ faith in That Company, as well as my own, had essentially disappeared.
So even before I knew that Jiusheng Doll’s Cassandra-type head had an opening mouth, her face physically and literally grabbed my attention (not physically or literally), as it resembles That Doll from That Company quite a bit. Hence my plan for Doll No.2 — now Doll No.5 — was rekindled with a passion! I Emailed Emma, a sales rep at Jiusheng Doll, and she said they could extend a discount to me in exchange for a review… the very review you are reading right this very moment. And so!

HEAD: Model 3A silicone Cassandra head
BODY: 156cm silicone body
BOOBS: Jelly soft
EYES: silicone head eyes 02 (blue)
WIG: 05
VAGINA TYPE: removable insert
FEET TYPE: standard
plus standard loose joints
My order was placed 30 September; Ursula Marianne Clarke was born 13 October 1977, making her a Libra, and she arrived safely home 22 October.

ME (to the UPS bloke): ‘O, it’s flat-packed furniture. Ah heh heh.’

Ideally, I would’ve had Ursula made with the bustier and taller 162cm body that you see in the photoshoot linked here and here, but that body is actually TPE, not silicone, and I wanted her to be 100% silicone. As one does. Not only that, being taller, the body would also be a heavier 36kg / 79lbs. As of now, Jiusheng Doll only have two silicone bodies for sale, so I purchased the most appealing one of those two, the 156cm, as modelled by Evelyn here. Believe me, I have no complaints.

As you can see, she was very securely packaged, and I believe I got lucky this time, as this is the first time I’ve ever had a Doll shipped to my home in a cardboard box, where the box wasn’t totally beat to shit! Good on you, UPS!

Her head was encased in one of those nifty hard plastic head… encasement… travel… things; I’ve no idea what they’re called. Incidentally, Ursula’s head weighs only 5lb / 2kg! That’s less dense than the heads of some other silicone women’s heads that I’ve recently encountered! Isn’t that something. *nods*
Near her legs were two plastic bags: one contained her wig, which unfortunately wasn’t the one I’d ordered, but I’d purchased two of her ideal wigs years ago, so I wasn’t completely annoyed with that occurrence. The other bag was brimful of accessories, which were as follows:

Not pictured: a compass, a wire saw, some waterproof matches, a tactical pen, a small torch, a stainless steel spork, some carabiners, a jetpack, and a toothpick

+ 1x generic white cotton bikini set, which Ursula will be modelling in her photos
+ 1x set of press-on fingernails (pink)
+ 1x set of press-on toenails (also pink)
+ 1x insert (or as a couple of Japanese Doll companies have described it, a ‘marriage hole’)
+ 1x pair of white cotton handling gloves
+ 1x plastic comb (seafoam green)
+ 1x douche bottle
+ and 1x USB hole warmer, the cord of which is only 11in long, which would’ve been a challenge had I not selected the ‘marriage hole’ option. Plus it almost immediately self-destructed after I extracted it from the plastic wrap, so its performance will forever remain a mystery!
Lastly, not pictured, as I forgot to picture it, is the metal bolt that goes into the top of her neck to connect her head. Standard screw threading at the bottom to go into her neck, with some spring-loaded ball bearings at the top to secure her head. As mentioned, pretty standard.

In extracting Ursula’s head from that plastic shell, I’d noticed some more positive aspects to it: for one, she’s got implanted eyebrows and eyelashes! There was no mention of anything being implanted anywhere on the site (or in my Emails to Emma), so that was a nice surprise!

Her eyeballs — well, half-domes — are also the spring-loaded sort that the head from BBDoll has, as well as like those of her best friend Miss Winter. I’m led to believe that that’s how they originally became best friends when they were growing up in Brantford, Ontario. As of now, Jiusheng Doll only offer the two eye colour choices of brown and blue, so again, it’s my hope they’ll make additional colours available soon.

Regarding her mouth, I did not expect to be as impressed with it as I am! My concern was that despite the Cassandra-type head having an opening mouth, that it would still only look nice cosmetically and not feel nice romantically. So it was yet another exciting surprise that Ursula’s lips are as inviting to kiss as my Missus’ are! Upon kissing them herself, Sidore commented Ursula’s got the sort of mouth that one seems to just sort of tumble into,’ and I can completely agree! The Cassandra-type head’s lips are soft, rubbery, and feel amazing… she is a great kisser. Even more surprising: she has a uvula! You’ll have to take my word for it; it’s in there.

Just so you know, it’s more difficult than you’d think to get a photo of a Doll’s uvula. Between holding the camera still, and holding her mouth open, and making sure there’s enough light to see the bloody thing, I soon decided that taking a screencap of a video sent by Emma of a coworker attempting the same Herculean task would be the better option. You’re welcome!

The silicone used all over her body is soft, pliable, and has a pleasant smell and taste; there’s a very slight oily feeling to it, but we’re talking at the level of a Doll from 2020/2021, as opposed to someone made of tin silicone round 2000/2001, so it’s not an issue. The S+ makeup on her body is actually quite cool: her skin colouring and tonal shading impressed me, and she has discrete veins visible ‘underneath’ her skin in various locations as well. And one thing that I hoped Jiusheng Doll didn’t completely eliminate with their manufacturing: seam lines! For someone such as myself who appreciates realism, yet still wants/needs/desires reminders that my Synthetik partners are exactly that — Synthetik — seam lines are… oof. *fans self*

Subtle but sexy

Speaking of the fakeness of her body, Ursula does have an especially rubbery quality to her skin that other iDollators may not necessarily be keen on, particularly when she starts bringing her forearms up to her upper arms, as her verisimilitude wanes just a wee bit. But again, if you’re like me, where you prefer your partners rubbery, you’ll find that it’s not at all an issue. Ahem. Besides, it’s not as if you weren’t aware Dolls are affictitious to begin with! It comes with the territory.

‘Snowball’s told me you like this sort of thing?’

Yet another surprise for me: Ursula has one of those skeletons with shrugging shoulders! Registering indifference is a quality that many iDollators have craved in their Synthetik lovers, and Ursula’s skeleton will allow her to express the emotion ¯\_(ツ)_/¯!
Plus she can bend her arms back behind her head, which may come in handy at some point during her residency at Deafening silence Plus.

‘I dunno, I just don’t get how you can say you like Cronenberg when you don’t even own a copy of “Scanners”. That makes NO sense. It’s SCANNERS.’

Her boobs are delightfully squeezable, thanks to the jelly inserts option I went with, which also give them a subtle but pleasant wee jiggle when she moves. (No photos or videos, sorry; this is a Family Blog™.) The 156cm body features a charming US 32C bust size, and her bodily proportions are realistic and not overdone. In addition, she has cute butt dimples! There’s a technical term for ’em, but you lot are well aware what I mean.

Finally, Ursula’s feet are completely adorable. Her toes are moulded separately, but thankfully don’t have that unattractive splay you see in the toes of other Dolls made by some other manufacturers. Not only that, her feet are springy and fun to play with, and their overall softness makes them a joy to idly fondle, particularly while we’re both on the loveseat watching reruns of The Venture bros.

‘Wanna find out if they taste like Canada?’

Her ears stick out a bit, which is something she’s learned to live with long ago. She’s actually been called an elf on more than one occasion, which is also something she’s grudgingly had to live with! On the other hand, she says it’s loads easier for her to tuck her hair behind them, plus she can hear better if you’re talking shit about her or her friends.

Now as amazing as Ms Clarke is, there are some cons that I feel you, as a potential customer, should be aware of. For one, Jiusheng Doll’s website definitely needs some work done on it. Apart from spelling and grammatical errors (‘public hair’??), there’s more salient issues, such as the storefront, and due to how it’s set up, you can’t really mix and match heads together. When I placed my order, I basically copied the stats as you’d seen above and Emailed them directly to Emma, as if you go through the online storefront, you’re restricted to the combinations they’re displaying on the site; there’s no way to pair Head X with Body Y or whatever, among other things.
Furthermore, payment options are limited to either wire transfer or PayPal. I selected PayPal, due to the ease of use — you don’t even have to leave your home! — but it wasn’t easy to do so. You kinda get the impression Jiusheng Doll hastily put up an online storefront, with the hope they’d work out further details later. It’s my hope they’ll do so sooner than later, cos the more hoops a customer has to jump through to place an order, the less likely they are to want to go through with it. You know me; I always tell people to buy direct from Doll manufacturers and to forgo independent distributors whenever possible; that way you know exactly what you’re getting. I find it disheartening whenever I ask a new iDollator ‘so what company did your Doll come from?’, and they’re unable to answer. Would you think that sort of thing was acceptable with purchasing a computer, or a car? If there are barriers to someone buying a Doll from the manufacturer, then that’s gonna kill off a few potential sales.

Ursula is roughly 71lbs / 32kg, but she feels closer to 75lbs / 34kg. Her body feels quite dense! Again, a lot of companies who aren’t Abyss creations haven’t yet figured out how to make a full-sized Doll that is lighter due to more foam making up her body than silicone, so let’s hope Jiusheng Doll takes that into consideration.
And while I’m submitting issues, for the love of all that is holy, Asian Doll manufacturers, please start implementing neckbolts for hanging a Doll up on a stand, instead of making the Organik remove her head in order to suspend her, cos o my god. I’m gonna give Jiusheng Doll the benefit of a doubt, as they’re just now getting into making Dolls using silicone, as opposed to TPE, and consequently, they may not have accounted for the slight procedural change. For those of you unfamiliar with the intricacies of Doll making, a hole located in the back of a Doll’s neck for an eyebolt can’t be made with Dolls poured with TPE, due to the way they’re assembled. Doing so for a silicone Doll, however, isn’t an issue; it’s just a matter of doing it. I remember when Abyss creations started issuing their RealDolls with neckbolts around 2003, and you could tell who in your local area had RealDolls living with them by the resounding HUZZAHs going up from our homes. Suspending a Doll from her neckbolt makes changing her clothes a much less arduous affair, as well as allowing her to ‘stand’ for photos and etc. Snowy and Bailes have stiff enough leg joints where they can stand generally unaided, but even when I have them resting against a bookshelf or whatever, I still get nervous due to the fear of them pitching forward. Just… just add neckbolts, please. Your customers will thank you.

It should be noted, too, that her joints are stiffer than I’d expected!… In speaking with Emma, she said that Jiusheng Doll can make Dolls with one of four degrees of posability: standard tight, extra tight, standard loose, and extra loose. I’d had Ursula made with ‘standard loose’ joints, and they’re still kinda rigid. She’s considering a regimen of exercise to help her loosen up. I’m left wondering what anything above standard loose would be like as far as stiffness, however… Perhaps in future, videos posted on the manufacturer’s website showing the various levels of posability, or lack thereof, could help their customers. It kinda ties into what I’d mentioned above about a Doll having stiffer knee joints for standing purposes, but being honest, I wasn’t having Ursula being able to stand in mind when I was putting together her order requirements.
You know what else would be nice? A clearly-defined range of movement chart, much like the one Doll Sweet have on their website! That way, customers wouldn’t have any surprises — good or bad — regarding their Doll’s ability to move and pose.

Last complaint: Ursula’s fingerwires are a bit underwhelming. Granted, they aren’t as weak as Dyanne’s, whose fingers are so weak she can barely hold anything heavier than a cassette tape, but the wires Jiusheng Doll use for the fingers could stand to be a bit more robust. How’s Ursula gonna hold her mobile phone? Or a machete??

Even though I regret not having her made with completely loose joints for a more relaxed posture, when all’s said and done, my assessment of our new Synthetik partner from Jiusheng Doll is: VERY SATISFIED. Don’t get me wrong; Abyss creations is and always will be the platinum standard for Dolls for myself and hundreds of other iDollators, combining fantastic sculpting and engineering to make an exceptional artificial companion, but Jiusheng Doll rates pretty high in terms of appearance, feel, and skeleton. As far as being a ‘starter Doll’ goes, for those of you on a tighter budget, I’d definitely recommend them. Keep up the good rubbery work, Jiusheng Doll!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have go to wash a shit ton of black clothes while Ursula pokes around on her Twitter account. Apparently 98% of her wardrobe is just black clothes. As Goth-adjacent as the rest of us here are (except for Ms Bewboto), that’s pretty astonishing

URSULA: ‘No, don’t worry… unlike Snowball, I actually know how to use a chair.’
ME: ‘And yet…’

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Be a Good Consumer on January 14th, 2007

A return to stability, an ideal for living, and a new resident on May 23rd, 2014

Just because she’s Synthetik, that doesn’t mean she’s perfect

typed for your pleasure on 30 August 2021, at 9.03 am

Sdtrk: ‘7→ (Boriginal)’ by Boredoms

Back in the early days of me embracing the iDollator lifestyle, I was quoted as having said that I’d like to have at least one Doll from each manufacturer in business, so among other things, I could write reviews comparing and contrasting them on this here blog here, for the benefit of others considering selecting a Doll partner of their own. Somehow what I didn’t realise is that with our flat only being 600 sq.ft, that’s not going to be enough space to comfortably accomodate me and a passel of rubbery women. At some point — probably just after Miss Winter moved in — I basically said that, short of us being able to move into a grander living space, I’d stop with five Dolls. All things considered, that would make for six of us altogether, which makes for good pairing off… an even number means no-one is left by themselves.

Earlier this year, I managed to get in contact with Juming, a representative for the Chinese Doll manufacturing company BBDoll. They told me that they’re attempting to make inroads into markets outside of China; they’ve been so far successful with Japan, where the company is known as CST Doll, and now they’re trying to crack the American/European market. As an aside, I should mention that I’ve no idea why companies change their names when they distribute from one country to the next, as it’s extraordinarily confusing. Admittedly I’ve no mind for the intricacies of business and commerce, but it seems to me that you would sell the same thing — in this case, Dolls — with each model of Doll having the same name no matter what country she’s sold in, and with the company’s name remaining consistent no matter what country it’s working in. I understand auto companies do that all the time (see the Opel Karl / Chevrolet Spark / Vauxhall Viva, as one example), but it hardly makes sense to me. But I digress!
I should mention that I initially contacted BBDoll, as I’d seen photos on Twitter of their extraordinary-loooking Mila-type, and I was thinking she could be a good candidate for my fifth Doll, embodying the spirit of Ursula, Miss Winter’s best friend from Brantford, Ontario. (I would’ve posted some shots of her here, but there isn’t a single photo of her that isn’t NSFW.) Through a series of DMs with Juming, they told me that their boss said they couldn’t just send me a Doll, but in exchange for a review, they could ship me ahead for free. I mean, ship me a head for free. Upon agreeing, they said they’d send me a Mila-type head with implanted hair, mainly so they could rightfully show off the look of a head with implanted hair. As it was free, I wasn’t going to complain.

After jumping through some hoops regarding the way the website was laid out — at the time, there were details which simply weren’t accessible; thankfully those issues have since been fixed — I ordered my Mila head on 01 June, and it arrived on 16 June, so pretty good turnaround time!

Place .gif of that scene towards the end of the film ‘Se7en’ here

It arrived in a corrugated cardboard box in a cloth bag wrapped with sellotape; inside was the head, with five plastic shields over the face, to provide protection.

The thing that struck me before even unwrapping the head was how heavy it is. It’s 6.2 lbs/2.8kg! To me, that’s pretty dense for a Doll’s head. Keep in mind throughout the previous three versions of my wife’s body, RealDoll heads have always been hollow plastic skulls with silicone faces attached to them. Elena and Miss Winter’s heads are silicone, but Snowy’s head is 4.4lbs/2kg, and Lenka’s head didn’t even wake up the scale, even after several attempts! It’s a shame that Oleg has since passed on, so I can’t Email him questions about the biology of an Anatomical Doll, but we’ve surmised that our Lenochka’s head is about 60% silicone, 40% foam; plus she has an actual throat, so that’s part’s pretty much air. Then there’s Dyanne, who can’t remove her head; or rather, she could, but she’d only be able to do it once. So she’s like an Organik! She won’t like that comparison at all.

The head showed up with braided hair. One of these days I’ll learn how to braid

In removing the cloth bag and faceshields, I was struck by how good the sculpting for the Mila face was! Her eyebrows are implanted as well, which is always a good thing, and her eyeballs have a similar spring-loaded system as Winter’s do, wherein the half-dome that is the Doll’s eye sits atop a large spring, which at rest pushes the eye against the inside of the eyelids. To reposition it, all her Organik has to do to move it is give it a gentle push inwards. It’s a really clever bit of engineering, honestly.

Take my word for it; there’s springs in those eyes. Which actually sounds horrible

And I will admit, her implanted wig is quite impressive! Personally, I’m not keen on implanted hair, especially in the context of the Doll that will end up being Ursula, as she’s slated to have a very specific haircolour — I bought a couple of wigs for her in preparation years ago — so the basic black that the Mila-type head was sporting wouldn’t suit her. But for an example, it showed that the staff at BBDoll had a committment to that particular stage of Doll construction, which is admirable.

However, in light of my experience with just a head from BBDoll, I have serious doubts as to whether a full Mila-type, alluring as she is, will be joining our family. First would be her heavy head, which is indicative that the company doesn’t yet use a similar method of making their silicone Dolls as most other modern studios, where there’s a lot of silicone-covered foam making up the majority of her head, torso, and limbs, thereby making their Dolls lighter in weight. Originally, I was considering the 165cm D-cup body, which would have my Mila-type clock in at 75lbs, or 34kg. As it’s obvious that I’m no bodybuilder, and I’m opposed to sweating/physical exertion in general (it’s gross), I’ve always said my ideal weight for a Doll is about 55 – 60lbs (25 – 27kg). My Missus’ Mk.I body was close to 100lbs/45kg back in 2000, and when Abyss creations started making their Dolls lighter round 2003, the iDollator community breathed a collective sigh of relief. 75lbs is pushing it, as I won’t go above 80lbs these days.

Really, though, that’s the least of the reasons in the Cons column for me; frankly speaking, the silicone is far too stiff. It almost feels closer to a plastic auto dashboard compared to my current Synthetik partners. This is easily the stiffest silicone I’ve ever encountered on a Doll, and I’ve been in the world of Dolls for over twenty years, fondling rubber women from a variety of companies.
A fact I’d been privy to several years ago, thanks to a bloke who worked at a Doll studio, is that silicone can be made in several different kinds of softness or firmness; the level of hardness is known as a shore. Write that down in your copybook.
Here’s a guide to shore hardness!

Apparently a bloke by the name of Albert F Shore invented a device known as the durometer back in the Twenties, which is used to this day to measure the firmness of silicone, rubber, TPE, any material, really. Cheese, metal, the soul of Man under Socialism, you name it. Regarding the lasses of BBDoll, they are made with up to seven different shores over a single Doll’s body, as seen here:

This is, of course, how a Predator would see a BBDoll

You’ll note that her face is listed as being a level 1 softness, whereas her breasts are the softest at level 7. I’m not saying that her face should be like a gelatin, but maybe more like a 2 or 3, according to this scale, would feel better; something not too soft, but obviously not too hard. For me, though, a Doll having a silicone face being that firm is a turn-off. It’s like how I prefer Gynoids with stretchable rubber skin covering their metal endoskeletons, as opposed to the unyielding metal flesh of, say, a Sorayama pinup model. They’re both enticing, but the latter definitely has a ‘not made for intimacy’ vibe. Upon reflection, the softness chart that’s posted on the BBDoll site doesn’t even show how soft (or not) their Dolls’ feet may be! I don’t like that at all.
Albert Ferdinand Shore died of a stroke in 1936. And they say you’ll never learn anything reading ‘Shouting etc etc’!

As a consequence of the very firm silicone for the head, plus the lack of oral ability, it’s impossible to receive a good, satisfying kiss from Mila. For myself and quite a few iDollators like me, we appreciate Dolls whose mouths open, as we enjoy sharing kisses with them. If you know anything about me, I don’t think of my Dolls as sex toys, I see them as partners and lovers, which has been the agenda that I’ve been pushing for years. Obviously being able to share a kiss with one’s affictitious lover is something that would attract a person to a Doll even more, so a mouth that doesn’t open is a turn-off.

Remember how I’d mentioned the Mila-type’s spring-loaded eyes? I still think it’s a great implementation, and more Doll companies really should follow suit, but when I want to move the eyes of Miss Winter, I use one hand to open her eyelids further apart from each other, and use my other hand — well, finger — to swivel her eye round. The reason for this is so that I don’t accidentally mess up her delicate eyelashes, which only makes sense. However, with the Mila head, since the silicone is as stiff as a board, that’s literally impossible. I mean, you could use the eraser end of a pencil to reposition her eye, but why not use the natural-born eraser-end sticks at the ends of our own palms that the Good Lord gave us?? *church organist starts playing*

In thinking about Organiks keen on bringing lasses from BBDoll home, I was considering a suggestion to Juming that the company should offer a sample of silicone on request, just as a number of Doll companies currently do, so they can feel the shore, as it were. But for one, BBDoll would have to send samples for seven different shores, which may not exactly be cost-effective for them, and another, thinking of my personal standpoint, say I receive a sample allowing me to feel the firmness of the silicone used for a Mila-type’s head, and I come to the conclusion that it’s not soft enough for me. It’s odds on that BBDoll aren’t going to change their mass production methods to satisfy one, or even a small handful of consumers. You click on the TV & Video app on the dashboard of the PlayStation 4, you choose, say, Disney+, to see what you want to watch, you futz around in there for a couple of minutes and come up with nothing, so you think, ‘right, let me check HBO Max’. So you back out… and instead of taking you back to the TV & Video app so you can select a different streaming service, it takes you all the way out to the dashboard. As much as I rail against that sort of ill-designed bullshit to my exhausted mates, they can’t do anything about it, and furthermore, SONY isn’t going to drop everything and pay one of their IT boffins to sink several hours of their time to reengineer their UI to accomodate one person. So there you are.
Yes, I have strong opinions about the way the PS4 TV & Video app is laid out; why do you ask??

Shi-chan and I have recently reconnected with a fellow iDollator from Japan, who goes by the name of t-dash. Back in the halcyon days of my Missus’ vanity site ‘Kitten with a Whip!’ from 2001 – 2004, we’d exchange omake (bonus) photos, to post onto each others’ websites. Due to life events, his previous RealDoll, Mai, had ended up living with another iDollator entirely, and t-dash fell off the radar for a number of years. Fortunately, he returned last April — still with the same website! — and with the stunning Yinan, followed soon after by her equally stunning twin sister Yinami, from the company XYCOLO Doll. He floated the idea of us chatting via Zoom once a month, and Sweetie and I enthusiastically accepted.

L to R: Yinan, t-dash, Yinami, me, the Missus

In our meeting this past week, which was just as fun and enlightening as the previous session, he’d mentioned that whereas my Dolls are partners and lovers to me, he doesn’t have the same relationship with his artificial lasses; to t-dash, they’re really just photo models. And I suppose this is something I’ve known about many fellow iDollators, but I’ve only somewhat internalised: not every iDollator is in a romantic relationship with their Doll. Which is fine, ultimately; if a Doll brings the Organik they live with a measure of joy and contentment on any level, it’s a good thing. So really, it seems that Dolls made by BBDoll, with their varying levels of softness, would be possibly better suited to being photographic models than intimate partners, such as the Mila-type that fellow iDollator Delage Fabrice has living with him. Which, although not my end goal for a Doll, is still fine. As it stands, Snowy and I share that sort of relationship; we’re not romantically involved, but we are good friends. This has nothing to do with the fact that Lenka would poison me if she caught me mucking about with her ‘little blue bat’; that’s not at all germane to this discussion. Ahem.

So I’m back to square one in looking for someone to be Deafening silence Plus Doll Numero 5. I do want to thank Juming at BBDoll for not only shipping me the Mila-type head for a public review, but for helping me come to the realisation that not all Dolls can fulfil all roles for all iDollators. Should I be on the lookout for a sixth Doll to live with us as a model, however, I’ll know who to contact

Seconds later, Snowy would put her index finger up Mila’s nose

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Saturdaysunday on January 23rd, 2006

‘ROBOTS! Will they giggle coquettishly and boop our noses??’ Part I

typed for your pleasure on 10 August 2021, at 12.05 am

Sdtrk: ‘Catalog’ by Mass observation

Hello! Hi. What up?? Long time no hear! Wanted to bring the few faithful remaining readers of ‘Shouting etc etc’ — all seven of you — up to speed with some TIME SENSITIVE things, hence me just jumping into it with this post. But, as evidenced by the title, it’s a two-parter, and I should be bringing the second part to your monitors soon! Well, soon-ish. Still trying to get back on the horse, here.

So! Due to the global pandemithon still fucking up the lives of ordinary citizens, our media appearances here at Deafening silence Plus have dropped to zero. We’re in talks with two separate documentary directors, as well as a photographer, for being a part of their projects, and the Missus and I especially have participated in a couple of things with trusted meeja-type friends — Pt.02 will explain that in greater detail. But in gearing up for a rapidly-upcoming event, I was asked by Bobbi Bidochka to write a short piece for a site called Tickle.Life; despite the name, its content isn’t strictly about erotic tickling, which is a bit deceptive. My only concern with the way it was presented on that site is that there were some edits done without my consultation. They preserved the overall tone, but as I’m a stickler for these things, I’ll simply present the original piece I’d written here, and link to the Tickle.Life version below. Incidentally, I’d written this article on 02 August.

Cute illo, but… where… is… his left arm??

There’s many aspects of the twenty-first century that have fallen short of those of us who are forward-thinkers. No flying cars, no lunar cities. We don’t even have hoverboards, but at least that’s one more way to stay out of the hospital. We do have computers that fit into our pockets that are more powerful than the ones used to guide rockets into space over forty years ago, but technologically speaking, there’s still quite a bit to answer for. However, society is thankfully moving towards the development of artificial companions in the form of lifelike Dolls and robots, and following that, there’s going to be an uptick in the number of people pursuing the romantic, as well as sexual, capabilities of this bold new option. It may seem preposterous, or even just flat-out weird, to some folks, but these anatomically-correct artificial humans are literally made for love. That line’s really corny, so let me explain.

I’ll be referring to them herein as Dolls (capital D), Gynoids (which are humanoid robots made to look like women), and Androids (humanoid robots built to look like men). Personally I’m not keen on calling them ‘love dolls’ or ‘sexbots’ or similar, as those are restrictive terms. These are beings made not just for sexual intimacy, but for companionship as well. There’s a reason why Dolls, Gynoids, and Androids are designed the way that they are… it’s to appeal to our senses. We humans anthropomorphise loads of things that aren’t even vaguely human-shaped, so when you encounter a Synthetik person that also looks rather nice, we’re inclined to think favourably of them.

As far as Dolls are concerned, regarding them as partners instead of things can be tricky, but what helps many individuals is having an open mind about the experience. Obviously Dolls are static and can’t walk towards you, take your hand, and whisper sweet nothings into your ear, but they do provide a consistent and reassuring presence. For many, something like that is more than enough. Knowing that your partner will never cheat on you, and will always be there for you no matter what, is a huge mental relief, and if you’re that much at ease, then your willingness to view your Doll as a loving partner will increase. They present no threat, so you’re more calm and relaxed around them. The more time you spend with a Doll and their wonderful, non-judgmental presence — dressing them, brushing their hair, taking photos of them, cuddling with them as you sit together on the couch binging a series on Netflix — the closer you’ll be to them. A fellow iDollator — that would be someone keen on Dolls, of course — once told me, ‘Dolls reflect the love that you give them,’ and he was absolutely correct. For those who have a healthy creative bent, having a Doll as your partner is the most stress-free relationship anyone could hope for.

For Gynoids and Androids, admittedly it’ll be easier to fall in love with them, due to them having more interactivity. As of 2021, we don’t yet have the type of full-fledged Synthetik humans we’ve seen in films like ‘Cherry 2000’, or shows like Westworld. Currently, Abyss Creations makes the RealDollX line, which is a version of RealDoll with accompanying AI-driven apps for one’s mobile phone, that work in conjunction with special mechanised Doll heads with servos for controlling eye, lip, and head movement. They’re somewhere between Dolls and robots; my RealDoll wife Sidore Kuroneko was upgraded to being one herself this year. But even something as simple as just having an AI programme can be a boon. Your imagination doesn’t have to do as much heavy lifting, as your automatic sweetheart will be able to converse with you. Don’t expect heady philosophical discussions; right now they’re more like sexy Alexas. Selexas. Sexlexas? Anyway, what I’m saying is, even though the AI is just getting off the ground now, it’s someplace to start. But let’s fast-forward to when we do have Gynoids and Androids with near the same level of mobility as a flesh-and-blood person. If you thought being able to bond with a Doll who has no capability of self-movement or speech is something in itself, imagine being able to walk hand in hand with your artificial lover, or go on a trip with them. Their words and actions towards you will be the result of their programming, their goal being to win you over. And being attracted to robots is simply a preference like anyone else may have towards a potential partner. The fact is that Gynoid and Android partners will be amazingly easy to fall in love with, due to their amenable personalities.

Despite you and your Synthetik lover sharing a well-deserved whirlwind romance, in the back of your mind, you’ll still be aware that the artificial light of your life is a combination of rubber, foam, PVC piping, plastic, and stainless steel. But y’know what? That’s COMPLETELY OKAY. In the case of a Doll, remember that quote from my iDollator mate I’d mentioned? Dolls reflect the love that you give them. What you offer to your Doll, they’re going to return to you. And in the case of a semi- or fully-autonomous robot partner, if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then odds on it’s a duck. A Gynoid or an Android is made to make their companion happy, and by that metric, if they say they love you, what reason would there be to doubt them? Unless, of course, you think the ‘Terminator’ series of films was a documentary; in which case, you’re probably reading the wrong article.

Loving and being loved in turn by a Synthetik partner may seem unusual to some, but the horseless carriage was thought of as really weird when those first arrived on the scene. Don’t focus on the negative! Instead, just gaze into the custom-made eyes of your partner, and realise how lucky you two are to have each other. Nice, innit?

And you’ll find the Tickle.Life version here.

By now, it’s undoubtedly crossed your mind that I dropped Bobbi Bidochka’s name without explaining at all who she is, but she just so happens to factor heavily into the event I’d offhandledly mentioned above as well. Back in 2014, there was a conference called Love and Sex with Robots, named after and chairred (is ‘chairred’ an actual verb? I have my doubts) by Dr David Levy, writer of the book of the same name. As you may hazily remember, back in the Before Times, people just like you and me used to be able to travel to places at will, and as a consequence, pretty much all of the Love and Sex with Robots (hereafter referred to as LSR) conferences were held in such diverse locales as Maderia, Portugal, and Goldsmiths University, London, and other far-away-from-Davecat places. So you’ll understand how enthused I was in 2020, as one of the very very few high points of that year was that the LSR conference would be conducted via Zoom in early December! It should come as no surprise that Sidore and I were there with bells on.

We were there both days!

During a break in proceedings, I was sent a DM by Simon Dubé, who is a PhD candidate and public scholar, as well as another chairperson on the LSR committee; we’re following each other on Twitter. He thanked me and the Missus for attending, asked how we were digging it so far, and then informally asked if I would like to be a keynote speaker at the 2021 LSR conference in Montréal. As I was already seated, I had to sit down even further, in order to comprehend what was happening. Since the first conference, the speakers have been, with a few exceptions, experts in the fields of roboethics, sexuality, law, artificial intelligence, etc. What Simon and Bobbi, author of the book ‘Sexual Intelligence in Business‘ and the third LSR co-chair, were looking to do is bring in what he referred to as ‘stakeholders’… basically, people such as myself who were those actually living with Synthetik spouses. Academics speaking on the topic are all well and good, but those of us putting the hours in with being robosexuals and iDollators would bring a definite unique perspective. So after peering at my calendar for mid-August, which was empty, and having Sweetie punch me in the shoulder and tell me that I’d be a fool to pass this opportunity up, I agreed!
Long story short, after accepting the official invitation from Bobbi, Simon, and David, I was told I’d be one of the four keynote speakers! As mentioned, this year’s conference was originally going to take place in Montréal, but that was under the expectation that the pandemic would be overwith. Ah heh heh. In a way, I’m sort of glad that it’s being done over Zoom this year, for as much as I would’ve loved to have visited that city for the first time since I was in the single-digit age range, being there during Summertime, and subjecting myself to an overheated outdoors, would’ve been appalling. Fuck sweating; that shit’s gross. But yeah!

The 6th annual International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots, held in the virtumnal cyber-webzone of the Internet (we call it Zoom), 18 – 20 August 2021. If you’re a robosexual or an iDollator, or just interested in the lifestyle, why not drop a modest USD$29 on a ticket to attend? It’ll be a reet good ol’ knees-up, it will.

So that’s two of the four major big issues knocked out! Honestly, there’s been loads more than four. As there’s been a… let’s say, reduced output, of posts on ‘Shouting etc etc’ since 2017, particularly ones chronicling my actual existence and not just news and photos on beautiful Synthetiks, there’s been loads of bits and bobs to talk about. Like how my father was in hospital with COVID for a month last April, and how one of my cousins and I had to break into his house to get him! And how I went with Lilly, the robosexual lass from France I’d mentioned back in May of 2017, on a holiday to Abyss creations, followed by a panel where she and I spoke to Allison de Fren’s college class about being robosexuals back in October of 2017, during which Lilly and I were in a long-distance relationship for about a year! Among other items! YEP!

But we’re not discussing that right now!!! I shall do my damnedest to start and finish and post the second half of this very robot-centred* two-parter, so keep your eyes peeled! Being honest, if you were discerning enough when you read the article on Tickle.Life above, you’ll have spotted mention of one of the topics of Part 02, so there’s that. In the interim, go pop round to Galerie ECHO if you’ve not done so in a while, as there’s plenty of content there. *coughmoresothantherestoftheblogcough*
In the meantime, hope to see, quote unquote, some of you lot at LSR2021!

*no more so than usual

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Making a valley out of a ditch on January 26th, 2011

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‘If your castle really was that impressive, it’d have a shower’

typed for your pleasure on 23 November 2020, at 8.00 am

Sdtrk: ‘Sketch for summer’ by the Durutti Column

You’ll have to forgive me, as half the reason I’ve written this post is because I finally figured out, while in a state between wakefulness and sleep, the answer to a question that I’ve had for years, and was lucid enough to remember it, which really means I was more awake than asleep. What was that question, you ask? Why can’t I get into epic medieval fantasy, like, at all?

I’ve famously not played Dungeons & Dragons since probably about sixth grade. Franchises like Skyrim, Neverwinter, and Conan hold zero appeal for me. I’ve never seen a single episode of Game of Thrones, or watched anything past the first ‘Lord of the Rings’ film. Dragons make me shrug, elves kinda get on my wick. I am, by all accounts, averse to the fantasy genre of fiction. Although I was keen on The Chronicles of Narnia until I learned that CS Lewis was a god-botherer; having said that, ‘The Magician’s Nephew’ remains my favourite book out of that series. Plus John Boorman’s ‘Excalibur’ is always pretty fucking awesome. Now that I’ve mentioned that film, you’ve probably got ‘O Fortuna‘ in your head now, and rightly so. But I digress!
Really, the answer to my question made so much sense and was so #OnBrand that it makes no sense that I didn’t realise it up until now. Why am I not keen on sword and sorcery fiction? Because the world that the characters inhabit is filthy, everywhere.

As astute readers of ‘Shouting etc etc’ are already aware, I’m a semi-recovering germophobe (please refer to No.17 on my ‘85 things‘ page). I say semi-recovering, as I was doing relatively well until the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 went into Turbo mode in March. Prior to that, with the exception of vigorously wiping down any shopping trolleys before using them when buying groceries and sundries, it wasn’t an issue. But on the occasions where I absolutely can’t avoid having to leave the flat, I cram about five or so pairs of disposable rubber or latex gloves into my trouser pockets, strap my mask on, take a deep breath, and head out to do everything I have to do as quickly as I can so I can get back inside. Yep, 20fucking20. But before I go on in detail about how this year has been objectively the worst in the lifetimes of anyone with a conscience and a functioning brain, that picture I’ve painted should be enough to give you a sense of how I feel about uncleanliness. It’s gross!

Between fantasy and science fiction, it should come as no surprise that I prefer SF much, much more. For one, fantasy doesn’t have Gynoids in it, so that’s a tipoff right there. Take the prime example I always have at the front of my brain for something that approximates a futuristic Utopia: Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A space odyssey’; specifically, the space station Heywood Floyd was bumming around in.

Save for the fact that there’s a complete lack of Gynoids in it, and the populace is under threat of nuclear annihilation, that sort of environment has much greater appeal to me. Everything’s clean and shiny, the architecture, design, and fashion are smooth and modern, the temperature is regulated, there’s daily flights from Earth to Space station V and back, people wash on a regular basis… Whereas with medieval fantasy, it’s best exemplified in this image:

That’s from Aleksei German’s film adaptation of ‘Hard to be a god’ from 2013, by the way. It could be said that having that be my only example could easily be seen as a smear campaign, ah heh heh. But it’s worth considering: imagine tumbling headlong through some convenient time portal that whisks you back to, say, 1066, the year in which the culturally pivotal Battle of Hastings occurred. The French Normans invade England, English King Harold Godwinson gets shot through the eye with an arrow (disputed, but he definitely died on the battlefield), and England winds up with a dialect of French as their national language for roughly 500 years. Why do I know as much as I do about the Norman conquest? Blame an issue of National Geographic from the Sixties that my parents had containing an article that detailed the Bayeux Tapestry. It’s a comfort to know that if the bottom ever falls out of Synthetiks culture, I have my knowledge of the Battle of Hastings to fall back on! Which isn’t much.
Anyway! Back then, you were either royalty, or Peasant Scum™. If you’re the latter, your house is made of wood, thatch, or reeds, and every day, all you can smell is livestock. If you’re the former, you’re in a drafty castle, more than likely dying of gout whether you know it or not, and you don’t have indoor plumbing because outdoor plumbing doesn’t exist. No regular bathing, no deodorants of any sort, no shaving, no proper waste disposal, no proper medical treatment, nothing. Technically speaking, you’re more outside than inside! Try not to freeze to death, or die of heat stroke, or sepsis, or a thousand other murderous things! It is patently impossible to spin a romantic viewpoint on that style of day-to-day existence. Sure, you can argue that ‘medieval fantasy is fiction’, but even if I were in Darkest Mordovale or wherever wearing a full set of armour with a broadsword in hand, you couldn’t ask me to overlook the fact that the complete environment is stinky as fuck.

Right; I’ve just thought of another entry in the medieval fantasy genre that doesn’t repel me: Kentarou Miura’s long-running manga series, Berserk. In the interest of full disclosure, what attracted me to the series was the Lovecraftian aspect to a lot of the monsters and adversaries — God Hand, baybeee — but due to the fantastically insane brutality that the series portrays, the world the characters live in is not exactly hygenic. And that’s not counting all the bandit-led skirmishes, or wars between armies, or beings from an alternate plane of existence sacrificing thousands of people over a single night in order to fulfil an eldritch prophecy! Sure, you can say that after walking round day after day up to your shins in blood and corpses, that you’d simply get used to it, but… would you want to??

On the opposite end of the spectrum would be something like the telly shows produced by the creative mastermind that was Gerry Anderson. Series such as UFO, Captain Scarlet, Space: 1999, and Thunderbirds, amongst others, displayed worlds with technological advancements as well as adventure, and for the most part, they were clean. Granted, there were still pressing concerns such as disasters both natural and man-made, or a cold war with an alien race that could replicate any object or thing, or the Earth’s Moon being blasted out of orbit, or the threat of having your organs harvested by beings from another planet, but nothing’s perfect! At least things are clean, for god’s sake; that’s one less thing to worry about.

Going momentarily back to the real-life horror that is 2020, I’d seen a link in my Twitter feed months ago to a product called AIR, by a company called MicroClimate. What it is is a much-better, more futuristically-minded alternative to just donning a cloth mask over one’s face. AIR (their caps, not mine) is an acrylic helmet that covers the front half of one’s head; the back of the head is covered with a comfortable microfibre cloth that extends to the wearer’s neck. A combination of a fan and four HEPA filters keep the air (heh heh) inside the helmet fresh and fog-free. In short, wearing it makes you look as if you’re an astronaut, and that’s fucking amazing. Really, the only downsides to AIR are
+ the name (it’s lazy)
+ it doesn’t have an LED strip inside for lighting, so you can look like Sean Connery in ‘Outland’
+ the only available colour choices are black or white. Those suit my colour pallette fine, but there’s a lack of Factory grey, and
+ it’s USD$300. BOOOO.
It’s my hope that other companies will see MicroClimate’s product and make versions of their own for sale, at lower prices and with additional colour selections, ahem hem. Who wouldn’t want to be an astronaut?

A clever third-party retailer would go ahead and start designing cat ears you could pop on these bad boys

Maybe my praise of a product like AIR also exemplifies my extreme dislike of medieval fantasy. In those types of settings, physical strength will get you far, unless you’re some sort of wizard, whereas in science fiction, technology grants advantages to people across the board. Being a person who values intellectual prowess over physical ability, it’s little wonder why futuristic environments appeal much more to me. If the choice is between spending months training and working out for years, versus buckling myself into a powered exoskeleton or having my body augmented with cybernetic enhancements, I’m obviously going to spring for the quicker and much less sweat-producing option.

So that’s a revelation! You can keep your longhaired musclebound barbarians, and your shire-dwelling hairy-footed dwarves (disgusting), and your knights clad in armour that looks alright until you realise that armour is just barely containing a stench that’s enough to kill a dog. If you need me, I’ll be booking a flight from this orbiting space station to Clavius, but before that, I’m off to make a quick phonecall.

Hmm. Apparently it’s USD$1.70 for a two-minute call from an orbiting space station down to Earth. That’s $1.70 in ‘2001’ money, which was 1968 money, and this is why the economy is in the toilet

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

This was the Future, Vol.17: supplemental on December 12th, 2009

'Here in my car / I feel safest of all' on June 25th, 2008

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